What does a birder do when the wait for the peak of spring migration is just taking too darned long? One option is to head south. Early April is a great time to visit the parks of the southeast for a little bit of the warbler action that won’t get to the north until May. Florida is certainly one option, but for a little more seclusion with plenty of songbirds, Congaree National Park in South Carolina is the place to be.
Congaree National Park
Last year, around this time, I made a plea for everyone to take part in the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz. I’m back again with the same pitch in this, the third and final year of the blitz.
A study should be wrapped up later this month into whether lands added to Congaree National Park since 2003 are eligible to be designated as official wilderness.
Books with ties to national parks are too numerous to count. But we did receive a fair number in 2015, and found many of them worth your while. Let's take a look back through Traveler's Fireside Reads for 2015.
The onslaught of heavy rains soaking South Carolina in recent days has led to closure of Congaree National Park, where the Congaree River has gone from roughly 6 feet to nearly 19 feet in the past three days. Flood stage for the river in the park is 15 feet.
We all know about the more charismatic of the endangered and threatened bird species. Trail closures in Acadia National Park and Big Bend National Park remind us that Peregrine Falcons nest on cliffs in parks across the country. Piping Plovers are diminutive shorebirds that bring outsized responses of both appreciation and consternation when their nesting causes beach closures in the national seashores along the Atlantic.
Is there a living Ivory-billed Woodpecker anywhere? There hasn't been a well-documented sighting since 1987, yet it still hasn't officially been declared extinct, giving hope to countless birders that they might yet spot this large, striking bird.
Sure, it's only January 2, but it's not too early to sign up for a spot on one of the ranger-led canoe tours at Congaree National Park this year.
It sure doesn’t seem like a whole year has passed, but it’s time again for the annual Christmas Bird Count. Sponsored by the National Audubon Society, this is the 115th consecutive year the count has been held, making it one of the world’s longest running and largest citizen science projects. The 2014-15 count dates fall between December 14th and January 5th. Participation is free.
Exploring miles of boardwalk and a dense canopy of old growth hardwood trees might be what many visitors remember about Congaree National Park. But about ten times a year the waters from the Conagree and Wateree Rivers sweep through the floodplain wilderness, opening up a whole new surreal world for paddlers and an opportunity to discover the forest from a unique perspective. Kayak through the woods and experience this special place through the eyes of local veterans Eric Guzman and Edye Joyner.